I think a lot of people have forgotten what the $940 billion Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 will do for America. The diary Bill Moyers Want you to read this makes good point in advocating for single payer, while it also portrays how the HCR Bill passed five months ago does very little.
Sorry, I don't buy into that kind of argument. The HCR Bill passed will enable many without access to have health insurance so that their lives will not prematurely end preventing the 45,000 death cause by lack of insurance, narrowing Racial and Class disparity gap, etc. So, I thought to round up a list of things we have forgotten to balance the non-stop negatives spin in all fairness. Personally, we can build on what we have but anyone trying to knock down the HCR bill in order to sell me a single payer lacks understanding. PERIOD!
A recap summary of what the Health Care Reform Bill will do and/or is doing--
-Would reduce the deficit by $143 billion over the first ten years. That is an updated CBO estimate. Their first preliminary estimate said it would reduce the deficit by $130 billion over ten years. Would reduce the deficit by $1.2 trillion dollars in the second ten years.
Health Insurance Exchanges:
* The uninsured and self-employed would be able to purchase insurance through state-based exchanges with subsidies available to individuals and families with income between the 133 percent and 400 percent of poverty level.
* Separate exchanges would be created for small businesses to purchase coverage -- effective 2014.
* Funding available to states to establish exchanges within one year of enactment and until January 1, 2015.
* Individuals and families who make between 100 percent - 400 percent of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) and want to purchase their own health insurance on an exchange are eligible for subsidies. They cannot be eligible for Medicare, Medicaid and cannot be covered by an employer. Eligible buyers receive premium credits and there is a cap for how much they have to contribute to their premiums on a sliding scale.
* Closes the Medicare prescription drug "donut hole" by 2020. Seniors who hit the donut hole by 2010 will receive a $250 rebate.
* Beginning in 2011, seniors in the gap will receive a 50 percent discount on brand name drugs. The bill also includes $500 billion in Medicare cuts over the next decade.
* Expands Medicaid to include 133 percent of federal poverty level which is $29,327 for a family of four.
* Requires states to expand Medicaid to include childless adults starting in 2014.
* Federal Government pays 100 percent of costs for covering newly eligible individuals through 2016.
* Illegal immigrants are not eligible for Medicaid.
* Six months after enactment, insurance companies could no longer denying children coverage based on a preexisting condition.
* Starting in 2014, insurance companies cannot deny coverage to anyone with preexisting conditions.
* Insurance companies must allow children to stay on their parent's insurance plans until age 26th.
1. Adult children may remain as dependents on their parents’ policy until their 26th birthday
2. Children under age 19 may not be excluded for pre-existing conditions
3. No more lifetime or annual caps on coverage
4. Free preventative care for all
5. Adults with pre-existing conditions may buy into a national high-risk pool until the exchanges come online. While these will not be cheap, they’re still better than total exclusion and get some benefit from a wider pool of insureds.
6. Small businesses will be entitled to a tax credit for 2009 and 2010, which could be as much as 50% of what they pay for employees’ health insurance.
7. The "donut hole" closes for Medicare patients, making prescription medications more affordable for seniors.
8. Requirement that all insurers must post their balance sheets on the Internet and fully disclose administrative costs, executive compensation packages, and benefit payments.
9. Authorizes early funding of community health centers in all 50 states (Bernie Sanders’ amendment). Community health centers provide primary, dental and vision services to people in the community, based on a sliding scale for payment according to ability to pay.
10. AND no more rescissions. Effective immediately, you can't lose your insurance because you get sick.
More immediate Benefits:
Access to Affordable Coverage for the Uninsured with Pre-existing Conditions - The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will provide $5 billion in immediate federal support for a new program to provide affordable coverage to uninsured Americans with pre-existing conditions. This provision is effective 90 days after enactment, and coverage under this program will continue until new Exchanges are operational in 2014.
Access to Quality Care for Vulnerable Populations
-The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act makes an immediate and substantial investment in Community Health Centers to provide the funding needed to expand access to health care in communities where it is needed most. This $10 billion investment begins in 2010 and extends for five years.
[there is more read on]
- SMALL BUSINESS TAX CREDITS-- Offers tax credits to small businesses to make employee coverage more affordable. Tax credits of up to 35 percent of premiums will be immediately available to firms that choose to offer coverage. Effective beginning for calendar year 2010. (Beginning in 2014, the small business tax credits will cover 50 percent of premiums.)
- BEGINS TO CLOSE THE MEDICARE PART D DONUT HOLE-- Provides a $250 rebate to Medicare beneficiaries who hit the donut hole in 2010. Effective for calendar year 2010. (Beginning in 2011, institutes a 50% discount on brand-name drugs in the donut hole; also completely closes the donut hole by 2020.)
- FREE PREVENTIVE CARE UNDER MEDICARE-- Eliminates co-payments for preventive services and exempts preventive services from deductibles under the Medicare program. Effective beginning January 1, 2011.
- HELP FOR EARLY RETIREES-- Creates a temporary re-insurance program (until the Exchanges are available) to help offset the costs of expensive health claims for employers that provide health benefits for retirees age 55-64. Effective 90 days after enactment
- ENDS RESCISSIONS-- Bans health plans from dropping people from coverage when they get sick. Effective 6 months after enactment.
- NO DISCRIMINATON AGAINST CHILDREN WITH PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS-- Prohibits health plans from denying coverage to children with pre-existing conditions. Effective 6 months after enactment. (Beginning in 2014, this prohibition would apply to all persons.)
- BANS LIFETIME LIMITS ON COVERAGE-- Prohibits health plans from placing lifetime caps on coverage. Effective 6 months after enactment.
- BANS RESTRICTIVE ANNUAL LIMITS ON COVERAGE-- Tightly restricts new plans' use of annual limits to ensure access to needed care. These tight restrictions will be defined by HHS. Effective 6 months after enactment. (Beginning in 2014, the use of any annual limits would be prohibited for all plans.)
I am certain there are a number of other elements that are beneficial in this bill even if this Bill is not what we all wanted. However, we have to make sure not to forget the political environment that crippled the chance to move forward with a more swiping reform we could possibly have -- public option or single payer. We all know whether we are pro this HCR bill or not that single payer is the way to go but NO one should make the case for single payer by dissing what has taken a generation to reform Health Care.
As the grand daddy of Public Option, Jacob S. Hacker, makes the case that no reform was not an option even if Public Option was removed from the Senate health care bill because the plan does more good than some would portray it to be. He states that it is a start in the right direction while PO was preferable.
The bottom line is we have gotten a good plan. Is it the best? NO. Can it get better, of course it can. So, how can we achieve more progress in the HCR arena? Well, instead of trying to point out the imperfections of the bill 2 months before mid-term election, we could point out the good and educate those that are confused by the 24/7 misinformation PR war what it is doing or will do for them. Last but not least, we could learn a thing or two from what Femlaw is doing to electing more democrat so that we have the voice to shape the direction we must go.
What say you?